PC World quite wittily describes Sony’s “next-generation portable” – codenamed the NGP – as bringing “the kitchen sink to the console wars”, meaning the console has got every type of gaming input possible. Whilst Ars Technica’s account of Sony’s new portable console, contains a little less sarcasm, being described as being “packed with technology and features, matching the power of the Playstation 3.” CNET’s first impression of the highly anticipated portable console is that it, “looks like a great handheld console, thanks to its powerful and innovative hardware system.” Whilst Engadget’s somewhat more neutral and dispassionate analysis, revolves mostly around the NGP’s five key concepts: Revolutionary User Interface, Social Connectivity, Location-based Entertainment, Converging Real and Virtual (augmented) Reality.
Whatever the description, flicking from one technology site to another, there is no escaping a review of the Sony NGP, after all 2011 is dubbed to become a huge year for mobile gaming, not only through the continued explosion in gaming apps for the Android and iPhone, but also due to the arrival of two new handheld consoles – the Sony NGP and the Nintendo 3DS.
The specs remain a constant feature in the outburst of NGP reviews exploding onto the technology critics’ front pages at present, namely that the console will come equipped with a 5” screen, a touchpad at the back of the device, front and rear facing cameras and two micro-analog sticks to stimulate the DualShock experience.
Somewhat predictably there are a handful of comparative accounts occupying several of the technology publication’s pages, intensely scrutinizing the similarities and differences between the NGP and the Playstation Portable. One difference favourable to the NGP, picked out by Ars Technica, is the fact that Sony takes advantage of the flash memory feature, by basing its games on a small flash memory based card. According to Sony:
“this innovative card can store the full software titles plus add-on game content or game save data directly on to the card. Ars Technica describe Sony placing its games on a memory card as a “wise move: memory is inexpensive, and the optical drive sapped the Playstation Portable’s battery.”
The one point that remains consistent throughout the many reviews and critiques of the Sony NGP, is not what Sony have divulged about the new portable gaming console, but what the company have not revealed. No price has been announced, arguably one of the hunted pieces of information sought by an eagerly awaiting public. Besides the exclusion of even a hint of what the NGP is likely to cost, no specific date has been given to when the NGP will be released, other than, as Engadget asserts, “available this holiday season”. But which holiday season, we all cry!